Coronavirus: Worshipers flock to Santa Ana parking lot for drive-in Easter Sunday service

During an Easter Sunday like no other, hundreds of parishioners packed a parking lot in Santa Ana where a drive-in service was held.
SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- During an Easter Sunday like no other, hundreds of parishioners packed a parking lot in Santa Ana where a drive-in service was held.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced churches across Southern California to close their doors. But Sunday's simulcasted service allowed congregants to worship together -- something that sheltering in place has taken away from millions around the world.

Vehicles streamed into the parking lot, located at 1651 E 4th St., where worshipers were able to fellowship while adhering to proper physical distancing in the COVID-19 era.

RELATED: Here's a list of SoCal churches holding virtual Holy Week services

Churchgoers tuned in to 105.7 FM, where the service was simulcasted while drivers sat in their vehicles.

"You can see other people, you can look through the window and you can wave at 'em, you can smile at 'em," Rev. Robert A. Schuller of Schuller Ministries "They look you in the eye and you can see that you're signing with these other people. You may not be able to hear 'em, maybe you can hear 'em, but the fact is you know that they're signing spiritually if not physically. And together, we're joining together as the body of Jesus Christ."

Schuller also held a drive-in service on Palm Sunday.

His father, Robert H. Schuller Sr., was a well-known Televangelist and author who founded Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. The elder Schuller held his first drive-in service at a movie theater in Orange on the last Sunday in March in 1955.

RELATED: Eyewitness News Investigation: 'Church of Bleach' claims to cure coronavirus

Since Palm Sunday, when the younger Schuller added a loudspeaker to help people in the back hear better, the crowd has been building each week.

"This Sunday, I'm setting up a platform so I can have more access to more cars,'' Schuller said before the Easter Sunday service. "So we can accommodate 300 cars on Sunday.''

Schuller said the service is necessary and safer than grocery stores, where people are touching items.

"People need to feed their souls as well as their bodies. And what I'm discovering is there's a lot of despair taking place in those who have lost their jobs," he said.

No one gets out of their cars to fraternize, but several women -- who were keeping their distance from each other -- were dancing in the rain following Sunday's service.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.